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Eucalypt leaf litter impairs growth and development of amphibian larvae, inhibits their antipredator responses and alters their physiology
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Biology, Department of Ecology and Genetics, Animal ecology. CSIC, Doñana Biol Stn, Ecol Evolut & Dev Grp, Seville, Spain.
CSIC, Natl Museum Nat Hist, Dept Evolutionary Ecol, Madrid, Spain; Aranzadi Soc Sci, Dept Herpetol, San Sebastian, Spain; Australian Natl Univ, Res Sch Biol, Canberra, ACT, Australia.
Aranzadi Soc Sci, Dept Herpetol, San Sebastian, Spain.
CSIC, Doñana Biol Stn, Ecol Evolut & Dev Grp, Seville, Spain.
2018 (English)In: Conservation Physiology, E-ISSN 2051-1434, Vol. 6, no 1, article id coy066Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Consequences of human actions like global warming, spread of exotic species or resource consumption are pushing species to extinction. Even species considered to be at low extinction risk often show signs of local declines. Here, we evaluate the impact of eucalypt plantations, the best-known exotic tree species worldwide and its interaction with temperature and predators on amphibian development, growth, antipredator responses and physiology. For this purpose, we applied a fully factorial experiment crossing two types of leaf litter (native oak or eucalypt), two temperatures (15 and 20°C) and presence/absence of native predators. We found that leachates of eucalypt leaf litter reduced amphibian development and growth, compromised their antipredator responses and altered their metabolic rate. Increased temperature itself also posed serious alterations on development, growth, antioxidant ability and the immune status of tadpoles. However, the combined effects of eucalypt leaf litter and increased temperature were additive, not synergistic. Therefore, we show that non-lethal levels of a globally spread disruptor such as leachates from eucalypt leaf litter can seriously impact the life history and physiology of native amphibian populations. This study highlights the need to evaluate the status of wild populations exposed to human activities even if not at an obvious immediate risk of extinction, based on reliable stress markers, in order to anticipate demographic declines that may be hard to reverse once started. Replacing eucalypt plantations with native trees in protected areas would help improving the health of local amphibian larvae. In zones of economic interest, we would recommend providing patches of native vegetation around ponds and removing eucalypt leaf litter from pond basins during their dry phase.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Oxford University Press, 2018. Vol. 6, no 1, article id coy066
Keywords [en]
Amphibians, exotic plants, global warming, immune response, metabolic rate, oxidative stress, predators
National Category
Zoology Environmental Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-374211DOI: 10.1093/conphys/coy066ISI: 000462551700001PubMedID: 30546907OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-374211DiVA, id: diva2:1280397
Available from: 2019-01-18 Created: 2019-01-18 Last updated: 2019-05-21Bibliographically approved

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